OpenRA community

Discussion about the game and its default mods.
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r0b0v
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Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:30 pm

OpenRA community

Post by r0b0v »

I had a good discussion yesterday on Discord so few notes while I remember. I asked others to create post with a summary of suggestions ... thanks @noobmapmaker for doing this.

1. Website - see http://www.sleipnirstuff.com/forum/view ... 82&t=20237
2. Forum - more organization, OpenRA more prominent. Again @noobmapmaker can describe it better. only few notes:
OpenRA at the end with 3 sections and no other organization. no releasexxx, playtest, .... sections.
I don't miss forum features, but as I understood Forum could be better re content. Murto is new moderator so he might have time to improve it. Also I saw discussion in IRC with pchote about migrating/upgrading OpenRA forum.
3. News - I proposed some news/feature topics before playtests to communicate OpenRA directions,... before release. While discussing I realized, the playtest and its new features shouldn't be so much surprise, we have live changelog! so I posted there this link https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRA/wiki/Changelog . I don't think we need devs to create topics for us, it can be done by community, anyway some official major announcements, directions by pchote/devs would be welcome.
4. Interaction between devs and players - I think isn't real disconnect. pchote/devs on daily basis - contribute, are active in github, irc, often in forum. What is missing then? We miss SoScared regular streams...

Proposals:
- pchote/devs could create occasionally a topic about directions, major features,.. to make the forum more active/official ....
- they could participate in Q&A session in Discord - regullary not needed, on demand, like before playtests, etc. Maybe this interaction was done by SoScared so far so wasn't so missing like now...
- Now I risk ban - Before playtest release, SoScared (host) and pchote (as guest) could stream together to review changes (or play!) so we could rage and riot live in twicht stream.

Not really important: Do all players know about Discord, Forum? Would it help to add Discord, Forum links (global chat? RAGL brackets link? Top players profiles link?) to OpenRA main(a welcome) game screen?

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anjew
Posts: 527
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Re: OpenRA community

Post by anjew »

r0b0v wrote: 1. Website - see http://www.sleipnirstuff.com/forum/view ... 82&t=20237
2. Forum - more organization, OpenRA more prominent. Again @noobmapmaker can describe it better. only few notes:
OpenRA at the end with 3 sections and no other organization. no releasexxx, playtest, .... sections.
This has been discussed 100 times. You should know there are github issues for this.
https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRAWeb/issues/47
https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRAWeb/issues/48

Both issues are older than you and I joining the forums. Its all fine to suggest things but this has discussed multiple times and everyone knows where the hold is. Its literally held up at those 2 issues. And these 2 issues hold countless others. Player authentication is currently held back by this. Which in turn is holding back player statistics etc.
r0b0v wrote: I don't miss forum features, but as I understood Forum could be better re content. Murto is new moderator so he might have time to improve it. Also I saw discussion in IRC with pchote about migrating/upgrading OpenRA forum.
The problem never was completely about the lack of moderating. The choices made by the developers regarding community moderation were dubious at best. Perhaps Murto, after taking the spot of SoScared more officially, can write rules for the forums, IRC and a code of conduct for players. These are the things I have been going on about for a year plus. No one knows the rules of this forum (not even pchote), the in game IRC has virtually no moderation so you are completely able to trick developers by smurfing and this game has no code of the conduct to hold other players against, not even in the terms of service. (Yes i have checked these things). The only effort being made in this regard is this github issue: https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRA/issues/13509
The irony with that is if they copy any Contributor Covenant this only is binding on contributors and it would be unprofessional to hold players against it.
r0b0v wrote: 3. News - I proposed some news/feature topics before playtests to communicate OpenRA directions,... before release. While discussing I realized, the playtest and its new features shouldn't be so much surprise, we have live changelog! so I posted there this link https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRA/wiki/Changelog . I don't think we need devs to create topics for us, it can be done by community, anyway some official major announcements, directions by pchote/devs would be welcome.
More news is a great idea. The news feed in game is very underused. From what i can tell its mainly used to say there is a new release/playtest. I would love to see more things added to this OR letting the news thing go into server browser AND lobby. So news can be checked everywhere that isnt the front page (i never sit on that page long enough to read it)
r0b0v wrote: - they could participate in Q&A session in Discord - regullary not needed, on demand, like before playtests, etc. Maybe this interaction was done by SoScared so far so wasn't so missing like now...
From what i can tell abcdefg30 is regularly in discord, so you need only ask him your questions. But i really think its rude to expect all this shit from developers when they already have a set up system for this. An player can join the IRC at any time and ask the devs just about any question. Doing a Q and A event is just appeasing the lazy players who cant remember to open the IRC because it doesnt start on launch up.
r0b0v wrote: Not really important: Do all players know about Discord, Forum? Would it help to add Discord, Forum links (global chat? RAGL brackets link? Top players profiles link?) to OpenRA main(a welcome) game screen?
Could you elaborate? I had a hard time reading this.
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r0b0v
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Post by r0b0v »

@anjew I will read your answer in more detail lately. but it is funny for me, that you complain about MY suggestions... as I only summarized what players/community asked for in Discord yesterday as I understood.
I already feel that my topic isn't helpful and appropriate and I am tempted to delete it than to cause other arguing... I was just trying to help, but seems I am not the right person to achieve it.

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anjew
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Post by anjew »

r0b0v wrote: @anjew I will read your answer in more detail lately. but it is funny for me, that you complain about MY suggestions... as I only summarized what players/community asked for in Discord yesterday as I understood.
I already feel that my topic isn't helpful and appropriate and I am tempted to delete it than to cause other arguing... I was just trying to help, but seems I am not the right person to achieve it.
I think you should read what I said before making comments. I wasnt attacking you or complaining that you made suggestions. This is just my view regarding website/forum. I praised the news idea
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noobmapmaker
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Post by noobmapmaker »

I think the current stirrup will be positive, eventually. OpenRA has been steadily growing and the old ways used to work good. But now some new steps have been made and it turns out that things are out of sync - and need to be synced.

The old way of organising OpenRA works fine to some extent. Devs do talk (daily) on github and IRC, and OpenRA is becoming better every new release. But somehow players have a hard time finding their way to the forum (not even talking about github/IRC). Ask a random player in the lobby and often they don't even know the existence of Sleipnirstuff.com or RAGL! These people will surely not report an issue or contribute in other ways. Much potential is lost and allthough we are lazy users, to me it shows that the current organisation of OpenRA is somehow too hidden.
When I see what RAGL has done for OpenRA I think of all other potential a more integrated organisation could offer. To visualize that I've made the website mockup. But I understand the limits, the complexity and current issues preventing it. Discord forfills a need that is not forfilled by one of the other satellite websites. It may be annoying that people go there to talk about OpenRA and I don't expect devs to read and talk there, and I wished everyone would be gathered here, but in my opinion that is what happens when OpenRA doesn't have a clear home.

I don't think there's a huge disconnect between devs and players, just this time things went awry and we should try to make the symbiosis better. Developers can interact more on the forum on specific playtest topics, users should word their critique properly and evidence based. In the end it should not be about who is right, but about finding the best solution. One that fits OpenRA's goal, that brings the game a step forward and is fun.
Devs could also ask us more to help: playtest something specific? Some C++ developer? Funds? Moderator? Etc? People helping spontaneously is nice, but sometimes a specific question for help would solve a problem quicker.

I do think that the opinion of the competitive scene is important. Because if the game works for the competitive scene, it will also work for the casual player (regardless of skillevel). At least I can't think of examples, correct me if wrong. Of course the competitive scene is not holy. If in the grand scheme of things things are 'competitively suboptimal', then they'll just have to compete on modded maps.
--------

Not alot of structure in my post but perhaps enough to discuss. Im leaving for the beach in the next 16 days. Will check in every now and then, but not very often.
Playlist with ALL games of the Dark Tournament Youtube.com/CorrodeCasts
Consider supporting OpenRA by setting a bounty or by donating for a server

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anjew
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Post by anjew »

noobmapmaker wrote: Ask a random player in the lobby and often they don't even know the existence of Sleipnirstuff.com or RAGL! These people will surely not report an issue or contribute in other ways. Much potential is lost and although we are lazy users, to me it shows that the current organisation of OpenRA is somehow too hidden.
This is actually another big issue (in the community realm). A lot of players I speak to actually either didn't know of http://openra.net/community or didn't realise they were links (somehow). I think the page should be edited to make it more obvious that these are links but thats half of the problem. I think what r0b0v was trying to say is adding these links to the game screen and i think its a great idea if added to the main screen, just adding a community button in the extras part will not work. A lot of players i encounter also dont realise there are replays. And another point GDave brought up is that OpenRA seems to have poor SEO, I cant remember what he said but it was quite interesting.
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GDave
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Post by GDave »

Regarding SEO:

Yep, we really need to work on SEO for www.openra.net. I realise that OpenRA is an engine, but if people struggle to find the mods/games that use the engine then they will struggle to find the engine itself.

I searched Google for a few obvious strings: 'command and conquer', 'tiberian dawn' and 'red alert'. OpenRA does not feature very prominently at all. So much so that I turned to a keyword rank checker:
https://serps.com/tools/rank-checker/

According to SERPs the Google rankings for www.openra.net are:

Search_term Google_rank
'command and conquer' Not found! (I checked the first ten pages manually - nothing.)
'tiberian dawn' 21st
'red alert' 60th


For comparison, here are the rankings for cncnet.org:

Search_term Google_rank
'command and conquer' 6th & 7th
'tiberian dawn' 4th & 5th
'red alert' 2nd (red alert), 3rd (red alert 2)


Usually, the mod names don't appear on the main page at all. They do currently only because of a news item (the individual launchers in playtest 20170722). The mod names do appear on the 'about' page, but not on the download page.

When I experienced some major nostalgia for Command & Conquer, I searched Google and first happened upon an HTML5 rendition of C&C:
https://www.adityaravishankar.com/proje ... d-conquer/

It's impressive what the fella achieved in HTML5, but isn't a patch on ORA. Well, his effort appears on page 2 of a Google search for 'Tiberian Dawn'. I checked all 16 pages returned by www.google.co.uk and www.openra.net did not appear at all! It's not surprise then that I didn't find OpenRA until a few months later, when I had another pang of nostalgia and I searched for something instead like 'command and conquer remake' (ORA is then the top result).

# # # # # # # # #


Regarding the forum, the IRC channel and github:

I think that many players don't know about these. Sure, there is a Community page on www.openra.net, but I suspect that players often don't visit that much (once they've downloaded the game then maybe they check 'Games' and nothing more), or at least could do with an in-game reminder. How about using the news dropdown (or even a Community button) to inform players of the existence and intended use of the forum and IRC channel? They could be told about the openra github there too.

Personally, I found out about these three things from a player (anjew) and I needed cajoling before I even visited the forum, never mind began contributing.

# # # # # # # # #


Regarding the untapped potential of the playerbase:

There are many people who play the mods with the skills necessary to make valuable contributions to the project, including web devs and SEO-literate folk). I think we could do more to encourage contributions. That would mean that neglected issues get attention and would reduce the workload on the devs so they can do more of what they do best.

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AoAGeneral1
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Post by AoAGeneral1 »

This was actually the point with the TD Balance Thread to put a collective of information in one spot for players to read and search through. (Also useful to past changes that happened with explanation to the reasons why in there.)

But its agreed that the forums aren't the highly searchable or linked to type. I do TD games and at the sametime ask around "Hows the game doing? Got questions? Or yadda yadda". Often times asking if they can post in the thread itself or I take the ideas and post it myself in the thread so others can coagulate at.

xan2622
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Post by xan2622 »

GDave wrote: Regarding SEO:

Yep, we really need to work on SEO for www.openra.net. I realise that OpenRA is an engine, but if people struggle to find the mods/games that use the engine then they will struggle to find the engine itself.

I searched Google for a few obvious strings: 'command and conquer', 'tiberian dawn' and 'red alert'. OpenRA does not feature very prominently at all. So much so that I turned to a keyword rank checker:
https://serps.com/tools/rank-checker/

According to SERPs the Google rankings for www.openra.net are:

Search_term Google_rank
'command and conquer' Not found! (I checked the first ten pages manually - nothing.)
'tiberian dawn' 21st
'red alert' 60th

For comparison, here are the rankings for cncnet.org:

Search_term Google_rank
'command and conquer' 6th & 7th
'tiberian dawn' 4th & 5th
'red alert' 2nd (red alert), 3rd (red alert 2)
I agree, OpenRA deserves to be listed at the top of search results (at least on the first page). It's really sad that this is not currently the case.

I did some similar research a few months ago : https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRAWeb/issues/298 but as you can read, at the time, devs were not into SEO optimization.. Maybe they didn't want to promote OpenRA on the web too much because OpenRA still allows to download assets for non-freeware'd games?

I remember it was also complicated to convince developers to add social network icons on the front page of openra.net (mostly, because they don't use them). But nowadays social networks are quite popular and they can help spread news about a project.

It's a bit paradoxical to work hard on a game engine and not want to promote the project more.

I don't know what the cncnet project did to be so well listed in search results.
Have they paid an adwords campaign? Has their fame just been enough to make them so easily findable in search engines? I don't know. In all cases, respect for reaching their goal.
GDave wrote: Usually, the mod names don't appear on the main page at all. They do currently only because of a news item (the individual launchers in playtest 20170722). The mod names do appear on the 'about' page, but not on the download page.
I think that the openra.net website should somehow list the most completed mods which are based on OpenRA. After all, OpenRA is an open-source game engine, it would be logical to have a page showcasing the available mods (or mods in heavy development), some details and links. We currently only promote them with a link to moddb.com in the About page. Is it enough?
anjew wrote:
noobmapmaker wrote: Ask a random player in the lobby and often they don't even know the existence of Sleipnirstuff.com or RAGL! These people will surely not report an issue or contribute in other ways. Much potential is lost and although we are lazy users, to me it shows that the current organisation of OpenRA is somehow too hidden.
This is actually another big issue (in the community realm). A lot of players I speak to actually either didn't know of http://openra.net/community or didn't realise they were links (somehow). I think the page should be edited to make it more obvious that these are links but thats half of the problem..
  • Your point is literally the same one that I had. I 100% agree. You can check this related issue: https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRAWeb/issues/46
    Several important areas of the project are way too much hidden (I've said that since 2015...) : forum, IRC channels, resource site, replays..
  • Maybe once the future forum will be in place (issue 48 and issue 47 needed), maybe the front page of openra.net could feature a frame showing the last 5 or 10 active forum threads?
    Example: https://www.ppmsite.com/ (at the top). This way, it would quickly show our visitors that the forum is really active. And this could invite them participate more on forums.
  • On a side note, I think there should be more messages displayed automatically in the lobby channel : http://logs.openra.net/?year=2016&month ... 8#20:40:46
    There should be messages about new forum threads, new OpenRA versions (I think it's currently happening), messages about tournaments, new maps uploaded to resource.openra.net, ...
anjew wrote: I think what r0b0v was trying to say is adding these links to the game screen and i think its a great idea if added to the main screen, just adding a community button in the extras part will not work. A lot of players i encounter also dont realise there are replays. And another point GDave brought up is that OpenRA seems to have poor SEO, I cant remember what he said but it was quite interesting
Sadly, it seems that developers are against the idea to add links on the main screen or on game screens:
https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRA/issues/10394

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Sleipnir
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Post by Sleipnir »

OpenRA's UI code does not support rendering web content, formatting inline text, or having clickable links that launch a web browser. If the game is running in the Legacy fullscreen mode then the operating system will prevent the game from switching to another application if e.g. a "open in web browser" button is clicked. These are rather large technical limitations that somebody needs to fix before any ingame-social media integration can be seriously considered.

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